Saudi digital camera channel floored by slump in sales

New figures reveal that sales of digital cameras in Saudi Arabia decreased by 1.3% last year. The fall is a painful body blow for the Kingdom’s consumer electronics channel given the double-digit growth recorded in the neighbouring UAE market.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  June 5, 2007

New figures reveal that sales of digital cameras in Saudi Arabia decreased by 1.3% last year. The fall is a painful body blow for the Kingdom’s consumer electronics channel given the double-digit growth recorded in the neighbouring UAE market. Data from IDC shows that just 169,000 camera units were purchased in Saudi last year, while overall revenues slumped 13% to US$50m. In contrast, the UAE market toasted a 31% spike in digital camera sales during 2006 as volumes soared beyond 400,000 units. Factory revenue climbed 5% to US$126m during the same period. Rasheed Al Janabi, research analyst at IDC MEA, says the stuttering performance of the Saudi digital camera market was largely due to last year’s stock market crash, which had an adverse impact on consumer spending. “The timing of the Hajj season at the turn of the year also negatively affected 2006 sales,” he explained. “The drop in shipments, however, was partially compensated for in the first quarter of 2007 when the Hajj season got into full swing with the usual upsurge in demand.” IDC predicts the Saudi market will rebound this year as consumers regain confidence and return to their normal spending patterns, while its outlook for the UAE market also remains positive. “Last year's surge in buying brings the UAE in line with European markets in terms of cameras per household,” revealed Al Janabi. “IDC nevertheless expects rapid growth to continue this year, as the UAE — Dubai in particular — serves as a business hub and shopping center for the entire region.” Sony, Canon, and Nikon continue to dominate the UAE digital camera market, accounting for 60% of sales between them. All three succeeded in growing their market share last year following aggressive marketing campaigns and initiatives in the local retail channel. Sony and Canon also hold top-three positions in Saudi Arabia, along with rival Olympus.

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